When I read this week's Sunday Scribblings topic was writing, my heart rose - then sank, just a bit. Sort of like the ups and downs on the path my writing has (thus far) veered towards...I get an idea, I start out all gung-ho, then I trail off, wandering aimlessly around the page. Writing a word. Staring at it for awhile. Then, backspacing over it. Not that word...what's a better word? Then I hunt around for the thesaurus, because the on-line one doesn't give me enough choices. Only once I find the thesauris, I get lost in the word search. One word leads to another. By the time I find a word I like, the phone rings, or it's dinnertime or even way past my bedtime....
Writing is what I love - but it's what I struggle with, too. It takes two to tango - and sometimes the muse is no where to be found. She's out dancing with other brighter, cooler writers. Writers with better rhythm, smoother moves - who write more evenly. They pick a salsa or a rhumba; a waltz or even the bossa nova - but the writers who really kick their heels, they may improvise with a flourish here and there, but it seems generally they pick one style, and they stick with it to the end of their novel's dance. Really, that's probably the most important part - they keep dancing. They don't drop the muse, the belle of the ball's hand, and go sit down - even when the music pauses, at the end of a chapter. They keep on dancing (writing) till the song- er, novel, is done.
So I thought, maybe my writing habits would be more uniform, if I had a uniform for writing. Or maybe the muse would like a new outfit. So I decided to design one. A writing gown - I pictured it flowing with words, outlined and embroidered with golden story threads.
I thought I needed a thinking cap, too. Definitely a thinking cap! Maybe more than one, in case the first one lost its point - that happens to me a lot when I'm writing. But I don't want to be greedy, so I'd start out with just one, especially if it were my lucky thinking cap.
Oh and a lucky golden pen, too. Every writer should have one. Theoretically, the words would just flow from that golden pen. Down deep though, I know what ink it would still take. Blood, sweat and tears, because -
Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead. ~Gene Fowler
Ha! That quote gets me every time I read it. Because some days it really does feel that way.
Even though I struggle with getting the ideas to form - and even once they start to glimmer into existence, kneading and pushing them into the shape that I want them to be in - even though it's a struggle, the two things that I've always wanted to do, were write and draw. Starting from even before I really knew how to write - or at least spell properly. The books in my mother's bookcase illustrated that story. Book after book, the normally blank end pages would be covered with my childhood 'illustrations' and writing, complete with backwards B's. E's, R's and S's, which I finally learned to write correctly, by about second grade (though if I'm tired, I'll still occasionally reverse one or two of those). Eventually they got me to stop 'altering' the books, by getting me my own paper to write and draw on - though I remember being in bed, and wanting to write/draw something - and since I had a pen, but didn't have any paper, I wrote it on my pillow - under the pillowcase. Of course, my mother found it when she went to wash the sheets! What a strange child. It seemed to make sense to me at the time though - where else do you write down an idea in bed, if you don't have any paper?
That's an accessory, I forgot to illustrate here - paper. Ideally, reams and reams of it.
So even though, I sometimes struggle with the words; even though I have a hundred doubts (do I really have anything worth saying? worth reading? is this character believable? etc, et cetera, ad nauseum); even though I don't have a writing gown or a golden pen - or a lucky thinking cap, writing, and drawing, is what I want to do, need to do - even if it ends up only for me, the only one to see it. It's what I've always secretly - and lately, not so secretly, done. I just hide it a little more appropriately now - in my journal or on the computer, instead of the end pages of books. Or my pillow. It's easier to erase on the computer, too.
This 'writing about writing,' has turned out to be one of the hardest things I've ever written about. I can tell, because I've almost deleted this page about three times now. I know that's my defense system, when something means a lot to me - joke about it or delete it. Or both. When I'm writing, the delete button can be either my best friend or my worst enemy. Right now, my finger's bothering me, so I'm thinking 'worst enemy,' as I'd have to start typing all over.
I seem to have lost my point again, too. It's probably around here somewhere - most likely wherever I left it. Maybe it's on the end of my lucky thinking cap, wherever that is. I think I better just post this writing, whether or not I've found my point, before I find the delete button. Before I end up not writing anything about writing. I wouldn't want the muse to think I didn't care anymore. I love writing too much to do that. I hope this writing uniform suits her - it looks a little bit small for me.
To read what other people have written about 'writing,' visit Sunday Scribblings. Oh, and if you're looking to read some excellent writing about writing for publication, check out Laini's writing tips here.
Just thought of another writing accessory I should add on: Pearls of Wisdom. I could really use those.
p.s. If you love to write, too - there's another new weekly writing site opening up -- it's on an island ;-)
Writer's Island opens at 12:01 am, PST - tonight. What a spark for the imagination - an island for writer's...